Living in the Midst of an Epidemic

To coincide with World AIDS Day today, Saturday, December 1, the Fenty Administration released new statistics that show striking findings on the severity of the District’s HIV epidemic.
The major findings of the new statistics are:
  • Between 1997 and 2006, almost 70 percent of all AIDS cases progressed from HIV to AIDS in less than 12 months after the initial HIV diagnosis, primarily due to late testing, compared to 39 percent nationally.

  • Although African-American residents account for 57 percent of the District’s population, they account for 81 percent of new reports of HIV cases. African-American women constitute 58 percent of the District’s female population, but account for 90 percent of all new female HIV cases.

  • Heterosexual contact in the District is the leading mode of HIV transmission at 37 percent of newly reported infections, while nationally men who have sex with men lead new transmissions.

  • The District’s rate for newly reported AIDS cases is higher than rates in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Detroit and Chicago.

  • The majority of newly reported cases were among residents ages 30 to 49.
It simply amazes me that 25 years later this disease is still ravaging us the way it is. I know seeing Magic Johnson walking around looking great and even more wealthy, may have people thinking it isn't a big deal. But why would you want to live with this if you do not have to?

In the past two years I have learned about more friends and aquantences that are HIV positive, than I have ever known before. It baffles me to meet people in their late 20s that do not get tested regularly. It disturbs me that people engage in unsafe sex with randoms. And disgusts me that people who know they have it and don't demand safe sex with others.

In the end we must all take precautions for our own health, but we must also have a sense of community to help reverse these disturbing statistics. So go get tested and take a friend or two.


WhozHe said...

I echo your sentiments. I am totally shocked when I speak with black gay men who still prefer not to use a condom. What gives? I am baffled and sad at the same time.

Chet said...

Man thankz for sharing this information with your fellow bloggers, I would not have had any idea how high the stats in the District had become. It truly hurts that people refuse to get tested or even want to know their HIV status.

Here in the Midwest the stats are high and becoming even higher for woman and elder citizens. I work in Outreach and it become quite problematic getting the brothas and sistahs to come in for testing.

Today I reflect on a time when I had many happy and healthy friends before HIV/AIDS, the struggle countines, education and early detection are key elements in maintaining a healthy life.

bLaQ~n~MiLD said...

Here hear!

That Dude Right There said...

Although I don't really trust statistics, I still have to give you an "Amen" on this posting.

Rodney said...

Those statistics are not surprising at all, considering the concentration of African Americans in DC. I will say they are scary. We all have to do more to change the numbers. It won't be easy, but we all have to take it personally, as an assault on our own sense of comfort.